[This issue of Peking Review is from massline.org. Massline.org has kindly given us permission to to place these documents on the MIA. We made only some formatting changes to make them congruent with our style sheets. Note from massline.org: This article is reprinted from Peking Review, Volume 9, #30, July 22, 1966, pp. 11-12. Thanks are due to the www.wengewang.org web site for some of the work done for this posting.]
The great proletarian cultural revolution which is now unfolding has pushed China’s socialist revolution to a new stage, an even deeper and broader stage.
The movement against three evils [corruption, waste and bureaucracy] and the movement against five evils [bribery of government workers, tax evasion, theft of state property, cheating on government contracts, and stealing economic information for private speculation] of 1952 marked the first stage after the founding of the People’s Republic of China in the great struggle waged by the proletariat under the leadership of the Party against the bourgeoisie and its representatives within and outside the Party. The characteristic of the struggle in this stage was the exposure before the broad masses of the true colours of the bourgeois reactionaries who, in order to make themselves rich, stole state property by every conceivable means and did not hesitate to cause great economic losses to tens of millions of people.
On the basis of the struggles against the three evils and five evils, and on the basis of the realization of agricultural co-operation, the Party carried out comparatively smoothly the socialist transformation of capitalist industry and commerce, that is, the transformation of the capitalist ownership of the means of production. This was the second stage of the struggle.
The third stage was the struggle launched by the Party against the bourgeois Rightists in 1957. This struggle smashed the scheme of the bourgeois Rightists aimed at usurping state leadership, subverting the dictatorship of the proletariat, exercising what they called “ruling in turn.” and establishing a counterrevolutionary dictatorship.
After the anti-Rightist struggle of 1957, the bourgeois Rightists resorted to more covert methods and waited for an opportune moment to go into action again. During the period when China encountered temporary economic difficulties, they colluded with the Right opportunists in the Party and concerted their actions to oppose the Party’s general line for building socialism, the big leap forward and the people’s commune, and tried to bring about a “great reversal”—the restoration of capitalism in the cities and countryside. The struggle against Right opportunism waged by the Party and the series of policies and measures adopted by the Party in defence of the Party’s general line and the socialist system thwarted the attempt of the bourgeois Rightists and their representatives within and outside the Party, and enabled China’s national economy, culture and education to make further progress. This was the fourth stage of the struggle.
The fifth stage of the struggle started with the socialist education movement initiated by the Party in 1963 and has continued into the great proletarian cultural revolution which was launched recently at the great call of the Party. This great proletarian cultural revolution has, in fact, just begun, but it has already shown its great, profound and far-reaching significance.
Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, proletarian ideology, proletarian academic work, and proletarian literature and art have entered the field of culture on a broad scale. In the early post-liberation days, we provided work for all the old bourgeois intellectuals except those who openly opposed the revolution. The Party’s policy is to let them work for the motherland and, in the course of this, gradually remould their bourgeois world outlook and accept the world outlook of the proletariat. The bourgeois world outlook, however, is deep-rooted among the intellectuals from the old society. They were linked to the foundation of the old society in one hundred and one ways. For them to accept the world outlook of the proletariat means completely changing every thought in their heads, which is very painful and very difficult.
Before the world outlook of the proletariat takes command in the minds of the old intellectuals, the world outlook and the old ideology and habits of the bourgeoisie that are still there will continue to function, always tending to manifest themselves stubbornly in political life and in other aspects, and striving to spread their influence. They always seek to transform the world according to the world outlook of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie.
With the overthrow of the reactionary regime and abolition of ownership by the landlord class and the bourgeoisie, the reactionary elements of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie pin their hope for restoration on the struggle in the ideological field. They try to subjugate the masses and bewitch them with the old ideology and habits of the exploiting classes in order to bring about the restoration of the landlord class and the bourgeoisie.
In the final analysis, therefore, the struggle between the world outlook of the proletariat and the world outlook of the bourgeoisie is in fact a struggle between the socialist system on the one hand and all systems of exploitation on the other, a struggle for leadership between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, a struggle between the efforts to consolidate the dictatorship of the proletariat and the efforts to turn the dictatorship of the proletariat into the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie.
A decade ago, Comrade Mao Tse-tung wisely pointed out: “The class struggle between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the class struggle between the different political forces, and the class struggle in the ideological field between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie will continue to be long and tortuous and at times will even become very acute. The proletariat seeks to transform the world according to its own world outlook, and so does the bourgeoisie. In this respect, the question of which will win out, socialism or capitalism, is still not really settled.” The great proletarian cultural revolution aims precisely at solving, step by step, the question raised by Comrade Mao Tse-tung of who will win out in the ideological field, by relying on the political consciousness of the masses and on the method of the masses educating themselves.
The more victories we win on all fronts of socialism and the more our socialist cause develops and is consolidated, the more prominently the contradictions and conflicts between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in the ideological field stand out. That is why we have made the great proletarian cultural revolution an important item on our agenda at this time. This is an objective law. It is impossible to avoid this kind of contradiction and conflict. To win final victory, the proletariat must, at all times, mercilessly counter any challenge of the bourgeoisie in the ideological field.
All things are in the process of contradiction, struggle and change. The essential point of Marxism-leninism, of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, is criticism, struggle and revolution. Struggle is life. If you do not struggle against the opposite, it will struggle against you. One ceases to be a Marxist-Leninist if one loses one’s revolutionary vigilance and does not wage a resolute struggle against the class enemy and alien class elements.
In the course of this great proletarian cultural revolution, all Communists, all revolutionary cadres, and all those who stand for the socialist system and the dictatorship of the proletariat must raise still higher the great red banner of Mao Tse-tung’s thought, make great efforts to creatively study and apply Chairman Mao’s works, grasp proletarian ideology still better, develop communist ideas, raise communist consciousness and establish a lofty communist aim. We must not hold fast to established ideas, but must be good at learning and drawing lessons through struggle. In this way, we shall be able to advance invincibly in this new stage of socialist revolution.
(“Renmin Ribao” editorial, July 17, 1966.)
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